WASHINGTON — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is planning to announce his retirement in the coming days, according to multiple press reports Wednesday.
The decision by the 83-year-old justice, who was nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1994, would give President Joe Biden his first chance to nominate a member of the Supreme Court, though the evenly divided Senate could significantly affect that choice.
Biden pledged during a presidential primary debate in February 2020 to nominate a Black woman to the court — a potential history-making move.
“We talked about the Supreme Court. I’m looking forward to making sure there’s a Black woman on the Supreme Court, to make sure we in fact get every representation,” Biden said in response to a question about a personal motto, personal belief, or favorite quote that candidates believe represented them.
The White House, however, has not yet weighed in on the reports. Press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted that there was no information to share.
“It has always been the decision of any Supreme Court Justice if and when they decide to retire, and how they want to announce it, and that remains the case today,” she wrote.
A spokeswoman for the court did not immediately return a message seeking confirmation.
So far, the president has nominated eight Black women to the 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals, and if they are all confirmed, it would double the number of Black women confirmed to federal appellate courts to 16.
While Biden has not released an official short list of picks for the Supreme Court, a list of possible contenders includes Georgia U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner, who is 47 and the sister of Stacey Abrams, who is running for governor in Georgia.
Another potential nominee is D.C. U.S. District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who is 51 and was confirmed by 50 Senate Democrats and three Republicans last year. Jackson was also on President Barack Obama’s short list for a Supreme Court pick in 2016.